The Commissioner-General of the National Revenue Authority is calling for the review of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which allegedly exempts tax for goods and services procured by staff and contractors of the UN Mission in South Sudan.
Athian Diing Athian made the call on the 12th Anniversary of the signing of SOFA between the government and UNMISS.
Under the current provisions of the agreement, UNMISS and its contractors enjoy the privilege of clearing goods from customs and excise warehouses without being subjected to duties, taxes, fees, charges, or other prohibitions and restrictions.
These exemptions were initially put in place to support the humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts of the mission, allowing for seamless logistics and operational efficiency.
However, 12 years from the signing of the agreement, Commissioner-General Athian demands its review and evaluation to determine the impact and implications of these tax exemptions.
Mr. Athian also said is there a need to review contracts regarding alcoholic beverages that the UN mission brings into the country with tax exemptions.
He alleged that the mission entered into contracts with contractors that import alcohol and end up in the market using the Status of Forces Agreement.
“Nobody knows the SOFA agreement has to be revised because nobody knows UNMISS or UN they have the SOFA agreement bring anything no tax even the contractors they contracted no tax and we have signed,” Athian said during the welcoming ceremony of new Minister of Finance and Planning Bak Barnaba.
“The liters of alcohol they bring into this country can be consumed by the whole population. How many are they? Can we not put a cap and say okay, this is how much quarter we give you if you go beyond that, you pay taxes.”
Mr. Athian also said, without providing evidence, that the alcohol products being shipped by the UN Mission ends up into the market.
He said further that “we need to revise and when the time comes to renew the SOAF agreement or the APSA, we need to sit and then see the details and revise it before we renew it.”
“Let’s ask the Minister of Finance or the NRA give us how much money did, we loss for exemptions last year and then we go and face them with this.”
According Athian, this revised will ensure that the agreement aligns with the evolving economic landscape, striking the right balance between supporting UNMISS operations and safeguarding the interests of the national economy.
The SOFA agreement was signed on 8th August 2011, between government of South Sudan and the United Nations.
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Deng Alor Kuol signed on behalf of the government of Republic of South Sudan, while Hilde F. Johnson signed on behalf of Special Representative of the Secretary-General of UN.
UNMISS, is yet to comment on the calls to review the SOFA agreement.
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